ISAAC HAYDEN could be one of the next players to leave Newcastle United this summer and if he is then he will always hold the club close to his heart.
The 24-year-old has been angling for a move from St James’ Park for the last year to be closer to his family down south, and there are parties interested in making that happen.
West Ham United and Brighton are two of the most likely contenders for his signature, while Wolves and Watford have previously considered a switch. There are also a number of Championship clubs keen.
Newcastle are believed to have slapped a £15m price-tag on his head for the move to happen, and the departure of Rafa Benitez to China has not really affected the situation.
But there are clubs looking to take advantage of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding St James’ Park, with Mike Ashley still looking to sell up and the Bin Zayed Group believed to be preparing some sort of statement to describe the state of play.
The midfielder said: “When I came I’d probably had 25 first-team appearances. I was quite raw. It was my first full season at a football. When I was younger, I was out for ten months … for a season. I missed a lot of football when I was younger. I could’ve developed further.
“From 18-20, I didn’t really play any games. It was only that year at Hull which gave me the opportunity to play for Newcastle. But, you know, that first season was really my first season in first-team professional football with that pressure.
“The Championship was a fantastic season. I felt, for myself, and the team did really well. Obviously, the Premier League is a completely different ball game. To play every week at 21 or 22 … there aren’t many players who do that. It was a learning curve.
“We finished tenth, so it was still a good effort from everyone. I didn’t start the season how I wanted to start for various reasons, but that happens in football, and it’s about how you react to it and deal with it. I dealt with that and reacted to it, and this is the outcome now.”
If he was to leave Hayden would be sad and he also stressed that Newcastle has enormous potential – provided a new owner, or even Ashley, could tap into it more.
Hayden, speaking earlier this summer, said: “It’s not what’s best for just me. I have to sit there and think about it. I don’t even think I’ve played my best football, being honest with you. Sometimes the travelling takes it out of you. I think when I’m settled, and everything in my life is settled, I think I will play my best football. I haven’t played it yet.”
He added: “I think the potential is there for everyone to see at Newcastle. The lads get so frustrated when they hear certain things. I don’t think anyone, even people who don’t watch Newcastle or have an interest in Newcastle, have to see the potential.
“They have to see what’s there in front of them - 52,000 fans, a stadium that’s packed every week. It’s always packed. Fans home and away, a one-club city. You know, the infrastructure is there. Everything’s there.”